"C’mon Wyatt, think up something quick."
I looked at the guys around me and struggled with the ropes around my wrists, rocking the chair back and forth.
"Go to your mind palace!"
"Mind palace? This isn’t Sherlock you fucking retard, chill."
"Do it! You have to do it."
"Whatever, fine, Focusing now."
I’m no longer tied to a chair in a bank heist. Didi and Oliver and the others are no longer dependent on me to save them. I’m falling through time and space.
I fall through a picture frame. Something subconscious tells me that this is the author alluding to this introductory frame story. What a dork.
I guess this is my happy place I’m in now. My mind palace or what the shit. It’s like, a giant mall sort of. But with stores of all kinds. All the places that have magic in my mind. Look, there’s like, Costco, and Hobbytown USA, and IKEA. And Disney World! Whatever, I gotta find a way to learn the shit I need to learn.
Somehow it’s raining inside this oasis. It’s also dark. I stop outside a bar, which the sign out front informs me is called ‘The Vertex: Where Angels Go to Meet’. At the time when I designed that title I clearly had little regard for the sanctity of spelling or mathematics.
Stepping toward the portal, all the color of everything drains out the floor. Despite this clear noir influence, I find myself kicking through the saloon double doors wearing a stetson and duster. I have a feeling genre-fusion will be a recurring theme. The bar patrons form a Farside-esque cast of stars from my mind stories.
There’s Jean Reaper and her brother Vaern, the incestuous demons! Over there is the female detective who uses an ambiguous name, and the android next to her. There’s the team of shapeshifting dinosaurs that ride in a giant shapeshifting bus. What the hell was I smoking as a kid? A stick figure wearing a santa hat walks up to me to introduce itself. At some point this is how I imagined myself because clearly I was too stupid to remember what I looked like.
"Wyatt! You’ve returned after all this time!"
"Yeah yeah, this is some gay shit. Doesn’t anyone do housekeeping?"
"Um, no. Everything just kind of backs up I guess? That sounds like it should be your job."
"Fuck you primitive me."
I sit down at the bar, and looking to the right a cast of femme fatales bats their eyelashes at me. There’s Juliet and Jade most apparently, but others as well. Raven from Teen Titans, and Temari from Naruto. Elisa Maza from Gargoyles. My first animated love. Raven and I flirt shamelessly while the other girls look on.
The barkeep knocks on the bar to get my attention. Babar the elephant looks at me over his tusks. Ba-bar. Haha. Wow. Just perfect. I tell him to give me a glass half full of vodka and half full of red hawaiian punch.
"You’re perfect Babar, don’t ever change."
"I like learning."
"Yeah, yeah, me too."
The proprietors of the bar, the immortal German soldier of fortune Aleksander Fischer and his youthful ward the Scotch-American Brian O’Rory look on from a rear office window. I assume Aleksander’s illegitimate super-powered children are around here somewhere. Two of them are also incestuous. I guess that counts as a recurring theme too.
The primitive versions of Wyatt are a special treat. I like the version of me that lives on an island surrounded by a flowing river in a small one-room apartment, but even better I like the version of me that’s an idealized anime ninja who is loved physically by all. Fictional 23 year old me sits in the back drawing on his laptop. That’s how he made his fictional living even though he was just a made up character for me to seem cool as a kid on World of Warcraft. He’s a sweet guy though.
RPG characters and real ethnicities intermingle. The Maori and Saami that fascinate me talk with the Fantastical hybrids that are also extremely prevalent. If not for my interest in mythology one might think I’m a furry from all the griffins and hippogrifs and even alicorns about in here. Grody.
My modern dream girl materializes from somewhere else. She’s dancing like a genki girl to the acoustic band covering the Grateful Dead. On closer inspection I realize they’re the former Beatles cover band from Epcot in my childhood. I was told they were replaced because of infighting, but they seem so happy here in their Sergeant Pepper outfits.
Back to the girl though. Her hair is long and exquisitely curly, and brown. Her eyes are brown as well, and her nose is upturned slightly, like an adorable pixie. Her mouth is taut and twitchy, and her red lipstick draws attention to her pursed smile. Her eye liner curls off dark and thick in some sort of Egyptian manner, and her bangs hang square across her forehead.
Her face is the sort that I identify with central Europeans. Hungarians and Germans primarily. Russians too. And Jews, Israelis too. It’s a specific sort of face. Wide open eyes that squint knowingly. When surprised she appears very confused, but this semblance is quickly removed by the immensity of her encylopedic knowledge-base. Her voracious appetite for media and for information is never sated, nor will it ever be. I watch her dance, momentarily becoming lost in her sheepish embarrassment at bumping into one of the Spirits.
Numerous and ghastly, ghosts of my former friends wisp around the main area. There are so many of them, I wonder if any real people exist in here anymore as anything beyond empty spectres of forgotten relations. I hug my shoulders as the cold settles around me.
Remembering my purpose, I stare deep into my glass.
"What can I do?"
One of the me’s sits next to me.
"Never forget who you are."
Next to him sits a past flame.
"You’re a emotionally unstable and destroyed our relationship by being constantly depressed and literally crying to me. Your reliance on me was pathetic."
Okay, wow. I know she didn’t say that. Whatever. Fuck my mind palace.
"Someone who’s not my cunt of an imagination help me out."
"I like learning."
"Jesus Christ. Anyone, seriously?"
Like a fine-tuned watch that has catlike reflexes, I spring into action. Snapping the ropes from my wrists, I spin the chair over me like Scarlett Johansen, (Like, how she spins a chair, not, spinning the chair as if it was her. Chill), and use it to crush the robbers who had handily lined up.
Grinning, I use my savage teeth to free my friends, who all stand up and cheer.
Everyone laughs, curtains fall, fade to black.